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Fightback earns semis spot

Wairarapa player-coach Katherine Reisima praised the character of her team to overcome a horror start and qualify for the semifinals of the National Tier Two Women’s Hockey Championships in Hamilton.

After the disappointment of losing their first two pool games, 3–2 to Tasman and 4–0 to Southland, Wairarapa were staring down the barrel of being confined to the also-ran playoffs when Taranaki took a 2–0 lead early in the second quarter of Wednesday’s third round match. However, two goals in two minutes to Mandy Yeo from a penalty corner [PC] and a field goal to captain Reese Robertson tied the scores. A Yeo field goal midway through the final quarter sealed the superb comeback victory.

That left Wairarapa needing a victory over Waikato Wildcats yesterday and Southland failing to win their game with Tasman.

Reisima gave Wairarapa the ideal start, converting a PC after three minutes. Kianna Dawson made sure of the four points with a classy individual field goal, and with Southland losing 3–2, that was enough to send Wairarapa to a semifinal with North Harbour.

Reisima reckoned that although it was disappointing to lose the opening two games, the score, especially against Southland, didn’t reflect the closeness of the game, but the team found their rhythm in the Taranaki game.

“We deserved to win that game against Taranaki; we played better hockey, the girls played really well, we moved the ball well, and we trusted our game,” said Reisima, who put the resurgence down to some typical Wairarapa grit and determination.

“Just the ‘Rapa’, eh, a bit of mongrel, don’t give up, and big heart from the girls, putting the legs in and running hard, and trusting our game and trusting each other.

“I’m really proud of the girls. To have two losses and just to fight back and know that we can do better showed real heart, and that’s why I love playing for Wairarapa – just the girls believing in each other – I love it.”

Reisima admits to knowing little about North Harbour but said, “We’ll just focus on our game, keep moving the ball, and a lot of it is, can we be smarter in what we do and reap the rewards from our hard work?”

Today’s semifinal starts at 2.30pm.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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